Execution of Walter Moody for 1989 mail-bomb slaying to proceed

Aging death row Is executing old or infirm inmates cruel

An Alabama man sentenced to the death penalty for the bombing death of a federal judge was put to death Thursday, becoming the oldest prisoner executed in the USA in modern times.

Walter Moody became the oldest prisoner to be executed in the USA since the death penalty was reinstated by the Supreme Court in 1976, according to figures compiled by the Death Penalty Information Centre.

Earlier Thursday, the Supreme Court denied the appeals from Moody's attorney after temporarily delaying his death by lethal injection.

Walter Moody's age shows the outdated death row system throughout the United States, in which more than 2,000 individuals are scheduled to be put to death.

Moody was pronounced dead Thursday night inside a south Alabama prison, ending a generations-long legal drama that began in 1972, when he planned a bombing against an automobile dealer who had repossessed his vehicle.

The inmate, who maintains his innocence, was also found guilty of planting another explosive that killed civil rights lawyer Robert Robinson two days later.

Jefferson County Circuit Judge Robert Vance talks in his office in Birmingham, Ala., near a portrait of his father, slain U.S. Circuit Judge Robert S. Vance.

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Two other mail bombs were intercepted and defused before they exploded, including one at the office of Jacksonville, Florida, office of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP).

Prosecutors have described Moody as a meticulous planner who committed murder by mail because of his obsession with getting revenge on the legal system. Prosecutors said that was the motive behind killing the judge; then he targeted Robinson, a black civil rights lawyer and the N.A.A.C.P., to make it look like the Ku Klux Klan was behind the attacks. In a recent letter to Mr Vance Jr, he wrote, "Had my Dad been murdered, I would want to know who had done it".

83, was executed by lethal injection on Thursday in Alabama for a series of deadly mail bombings almost three decades ago.

On Thursday, the judge's son acknowledged that his father had expressed reservations about executions. Vance said he tossed the letter in the trash.

Authorities said Moody mailed out a total of four package bombs in December 1989.

US Justice Department attorneys and the Alabama attorney general have argued that they have had an agreement since the 1990s to allow Moody to serve his sentence in Alabama. Moody, he said, fits the definition of a psychopath.

The nation's highest court issued the stay order Thursday evening on behalf of 83-year-old inmate Walter Leroy Moody as it considered his requests to block the lethal injection procedure. Moody has argued that his federal sentence of multiple life sentences could not be interrupted by the state of Alabama.

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